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Good Samaritan allegedly bitten trying to stop shoplifting suspect

 Approximate location of incident shown in black.

A Good Samaritan helped authorities prevent an alleged shoplifter from getting away earlier this week, but not before being bitten by the suspect, police said.

The accused shoplifter, Sarah Ann Costello, was spotted placing several boxes of perfume and sunglasses inside a large empty purse Monday inside Nordstrom Rack in the 200 block of North Glendale Avenue, according to police reports.

A loss prevention worker tried to stop Costello, 32, as she exited the store, but her boyfriend suddenly appeared in a fighting stance, police said. The worker, fearing for his safety, then let Costello and her boyfriend leave.

Meanwhile, the Good Samaritan was watching the confrontation unfold.

Police said Costello and her boyfriend ran toward a parked Ford Focus and, as she began to enter the passenger side, the Good Samaritan attempted to pull her out of the car. The boyfriend ran away.

Costello tried reaching the driver’s side and placed the key in the ignition, but the Good Samaritan pulled it out, police reported.

The loss prevention worker then pulled Costello out of the Ford through the driver’s side and handcuffed her, police said.

The Good Samaritan — who police did not identify — stepped in to stop Costello because he was once a loss prevention worker, and just “wanted to help,” Glendale Police Sgt. Tom Lorenz said.

Loss prevention workers were on alert for Costello after a bulletin was distributed that alleged she was responsible for thefts at other Nordstrom Rack stores.

A second woman, identified as 20-year-old Laura Garcia, was allegedly in the Ford’s driver’s seat, which she exited during Costello’s struggle with the Good Samaritan.

While Costello was inside the police lockup, she repeatedly said she “messed up” and admitted to biting the Good Samaritan as he grabbed for the keys, according to police reports.

Costello and Garcia, both of Pico Rivera, were arrested on suspicion of robbery, police said.


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--Veronica Rocha, Times Community News

Image: Approximate location of incident shown in black. Credit: Los Angeles Times Mapping L.A.

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